IBM has announced significant advances in Watson’s cognitive computing capabilities that are enabling researchers to accelerate the pace of scientific breakthroughs by discovering previously unknown connections in Big Data.
Available now as a cloud service, IBM's Watson Discovery Advisor is designed to scale and accelerate discoveries by research teams. It reduces the time needed to test hypotheses and formulate conclusions that can advance their work -- from months to days and days to just hours -- bringing new levels of speed and precision to research and development.
Building on Watson's ability to understand nuances in natural language, Watson Discovery Advisor can understand the language of science, such as how chemical compounds interact, making it a uniquely powerful tool for researchers in life sciences and other industries.
IBM Watson Discovery Advisor has the potential to transform industries and professions that rely heavily on data, including law, pharmaceuticals, biotech, education, chemicals, metals, scientific research, engineering, and criminal investigations.
Researchers and scientists from leading academic, pharmaceutical and other commercial research centers have begun deploying IBM's new Watson Discovery Advisor to rapidly analyze and test hypotheses using data in millions of scientific papers available in public databases. A new scientific research paper is published nearly every 30 seconds, which equals more than a million annually. According to the National Institutes of Health, a typical researcher reads about 23 scientific papers per month, which translates to nearly 300 per year, making it humanly impossible to keep up with the ever-growing body of scientific material available.
In 2013, the top 1,000 research and development companies spent more than $600 billion annually on research alone. Progress can be slow, taking an average of 10 to 15 years for a promising pharmaceutical treatment to progress from the initial research stage into practice, according to Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. Using Watson Discovery Advisor, researchers can uncover new relationships and recognize unexpected patterns among data that have the potential to significantly improve and accelerate the discovery process in research and science.
“We're entering an extraordinary age of data-driven discovery," said Mike Rhodin, senior vice president, IBM Watson Group. "Today's announcement is a natural extension of Watson's cognitive computing capability. We're empowering researchers with a powerful tool which will help increase the impact of investments organizations make in R&D, leading to significant breakthroughs."
Discovering something new is applicable to many domains such as medicine, law, finance, etc., that all require deep insight into a large body of information and protocols. Cognitive computing will allow human experts to interact with large bodies of data and research and the knowledge and insight of many other experts in their field. For example, Watson could be used to:
Accelerate a medical researcher's ability to develop life-saving treatments for diseases by synthesizing evidence and removing reliance on serendipity.
Enhance a financial analyst's ability to provide proactive advice to clients.
Improve a lawyer's merger and acquisition strategy with faster, more comprehensive due diligence and document analysis.
Accelerate a government analyst's insight into security, intelligence, border protection and law enforcement and guidance, etc.
Create new food recipes. Chefs can use Watson to augment their creativity and expertise and help them discover recipes, learning about the language of cooking and food by reading recipes, statistical, molecular and food pairing theories, hedonic chemistry, as well as regional and cultural knowledge.